Trying something

Recently I’ve had to spend much more time at the computer than I’m accustomed to and I’ve noticed that my recreational usage of the computer for things like Facebook has started to blend more seamlessly with my legitimate tasks than I would like. I also noticed that my posture at the computer was starting to degrade into a bona fide slouch and that my back was aching correspondingly. Then there’s the added factor of sitting all day reducing my base metabolism (by about 50 calories per hour, they tell me). I like to eat. When I sit all day, I have to eat less. This makes me grumpy.

In an ideal world, I’d be away from this machine a lot more, but just now my world requires internet access, spreadsheets, databases, graphics editing and things for which a desktop PC are eminently suited, so I’ve devised a work-around.

A clearer, albeit still crappy, photo.
Apologies for the crappy picture. I'm in a bit of a rush this morning.

I dug an old shelving box out of the basement and raised my monitor up so that the middle of the screen is directly at eye height (I’m 5’3″, so this was not difficult). My keyboard has been raised (on the toolbox that houses my fabric paints, in case you were curious) such that my arms are at right angles when I’m typing. This feels comfortable. The mouse is positioned so that I don’t have to stretch at all to use if, but so that I also have an arm rest for my forearm. When I stand at this station now, I can stand perfectly squarely and look straight ahead while working.

Because I have laminate floor and like to work barefoot (I’m at home, so it’s socially acceptable), I folded a yoga mat in two and placed it in my standing range. It’s far easier on the feet. The overall positioning of the station allows me to constantly shift my stance, alter which leg takes the weight, and focus on tightening my core muscles for better posture. Basically, it’s forcing me to get off my arse, spend focused time at the computer (instead of dipsy-doodling across the ‘Net) and maintain correct posture. It’s also much easier to switch tasks (i.e. from computer use to changing over the laundry) when you’re already on your feet. And a quick email check stays a quick email check and doesn’t become a half an hour gone to I-don’t-know-where.

I set this up yesterday and worked on it for half the day. I was astounded and pleased at how comfortable and productive it was, but also a little dismayed at how tired I was at the end of it. Even with regular running and whatnot, a day of standing (and that’s standing, without walking much) was tiring. Different muscles being used, I expect. My back and legs took most of the “impact”, but after a few more days, I fully expect that I’ll get used to it. My feet were tired, too, but I’ll definitely get used to that (or get a thicker floor mat).

I’ll let you know how it pans out. Right now it’s just a temporary test set-up, but I’m thinking that I might go with it permanently.


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